At the beginning of the 2022 racing season NASCAR Cip Series driver Aric Almirola announced that he would be retiring as a full trim driver at the end of the season to spend more time with his family now that the children are older and more involved in projects. But as the season went on and there was no announcements coming from Stewart-Haas Racing as to who would be driving the number 10 car next season, fans and the media began to speculate on whether Almirola would be retiring.
In recent weeks when asked about his future plans, Almirola was vague at best.
Today that mystery has been solved with the announcement that not only has the primary sponsor for the number 10 car Smithfield signed a multi year contract extension, Aric Almirola himself has signed a new contract to stay at Stewart-Haas in the number 10 car.
Speaking on the decision Almirola said, “it just feels right.”
He added, “I’ve learned a lot this year and perhaps the biggest learning was to never say never. I came into this year ready to soak everything up, and I have. I already knew I had the coolest job in the world, but being with my family and being there for (wife) Janice and Alex and Abby was really important. My desire to compete and win never wavered, but I didn’t want it to come at the expense of family. We found a way to accommodate both and I’ve never been happier. Smithfield is a big part of that. They’ve been a part of my life for eleven years and, really, my entire NASCAR Cup Series career. They’re family to me. And, of course, it’s always nice to be wanted. Smithfield wanted me to continue representing them. Stewart-Haas Racing wanted me to continue driving their race cars. Everything just aligned and it’s something we all embraced.”
He continued, “the original decision to step away from full-time racing at the end of the season was a family one, and so is this decision. Janice, Alex and Abby are just as excited as I am to continue racing the number 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang.”
Smithfield president and CEO Shane Smith issued a statement saying, “Aric has been a part of the Smithfield family for more than a decade and we’re very happy to have him back in the number 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang. Just as Aric discovered new ways to enjoy this sport, Smithfield did too. I was at this year’s Daytona 500 with him and it was electric. NASCAR is exactly where we need to be. It’s where our customers are, and no one reaches them better than Aric Almirola. He’s an incredibly talented racer and devoted family man who embodies Smithfield’s values. From day one, Aric has embraced our commitment to do good for our customers, employees and communities. This is a reinvestment in Aric, in Stewart- Haas Racing and in NASCAR.”